December 11, 2013
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Monday, April 23, 2012
The last out of Philip Humber’s perfect game brought some controversy as an umpire’s call was questioned. The last pitch was on 3-2 count involving a called third strike on a checked swing.
The problem, though, was missed. The controversy should not be about the call itself, but Brendan Ryan’s reaction. Down to your last out in a 4-0 game, instead of attempting to get on base, you argue the call instead of running to first base?!? I think Ryan, if he would have run, probably would have been safe at first.
Yes, Ryan could have ended a perfect game by being safe and also the 27th out, since Humber would have been credited for the strikeout. In fact, if Ryan would have run, the discussion of Brian Runge’s call on the checked swing would have been muted immediately.
The real problem was Ryan’s lack of hustle.
Given that, I still want to take a look at Runge’s call. Interesting enough, it was one of the Fox national games, opposite the Red Sox and Yankees. Significantly, this means the game’s camera coverage was increased a bit.
We—at least, I—have not yet seen a first-base angle replay of the check swing. This leads some people to speculate that MLB is just trying to hide the fact that Runge’s call was incorrect. Most likely the reason for a lack of replay is less sinister.
The center field camera was used to record the pitch, and a normal set of cameras was prepared to cover the live action. Any remaining cameras available to record the batter and different angles probably were used to record the reaction of the White Sox’s dugout, Humber, etc.
Since checked swings are not a reviewable call, the production team has the option not to record it at every angle. Watching a replay of the last pitch and the events surrounding it, it is pretty clear the Fox production team was scrambling a bit. It was a fairly unique circumstance.
But here lies the problem with a fan’s expectation of replays and the reality of the production of a televised baseball game. If something is not reviewable, the production team is under little obligation be able to produce replay material for it. As I believe happened in Humber’s perfect game, Fox used extra cameras for entertainment value.*
*This is why, in a previous post about instant replay, I included uniform standards across games and stadiums for instant replay specifically so something like this could not happen on a reviewable call.
Like most people, Fox did not anticipate a called third strike on a checked swing where the catcher missed the ball and the batter argued before running to first.
Thus, we circle back to the real problem: Brendan Ryan didn’t run.
It was recently announced that veteran catcher and current unsigned free agent Ivan Rodriguez intends to officially retire in Texas on Monday.
When a great player like Rodriguez retires, it’s nice to look back over his career, what his highs and lows were, his career milestones, and the best (and oddest) games he ever participated in where. That’s what’s listed below, the career highlights of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.
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Rangers 3, Tigers 2: If only there was some form of technology that could rectify bad calls. Some magical device that could allow officials to see that what really happened on a baseball field when the umpires miss it. A bit of sorcery that could put right what was wrong and prevent a game from being decided on a blown call. Sadly, no such thing exists, despite all of the efforts of our men and women of science and, alas, the Rangers win on a blown call.
Diamondbacks 6, Braves 4: Randall Delgado issued a bases loaded walk and then a grand slam to Gerardo Parra in the second inning and that would be all Arizona needed. The Dbacks snap their five-game skid and salvage one in what had been a ghastly series against the Braves.
Padres 6, Phillies 1: Nick Hundley tripled, homered and drove in four. I don't have time to go run the numbers right now, but I assume that that alone is more offense than the Phillies have mustered since the season began.
White Sox 7, Mariners 4: Ichiro Suzuki singled in the first, so no perfect game in this one. Umpire Tim Mcclelland had to be restrained from saying Ichiro struck out on the single, though. And then no one showed the replay and no one talked about it. Huh.
Reds 4, Cubs 3: From the AP game story:
Aroldis Chapman came on to strike out Ian Stewart looking with a fastball that registered 99 miles per hour on the stadium scoreboard, preserving the lead.
I've only been there once and it was like 12 years ago, but I was kinda surprised that Wrigley had gun readings on a scoreboard somewhere. These sorts of things elude me.
Athletics 5, Indians 1: Justin Masterson, the Indians Opening Day starter, continues to struggle, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings. Seth Smith and Cliff Pennington each drove in a couple.
Rockies 4, Brewers 1: Ryan Braun got his MVP plaque awarded to him before the game. That and 50 cents gets you a pack of Certs,apparently, because a Michael Cuddyer RBI double in the eighth and a Carlos Gonzalez RBI single in the ninth put the Rockies over the top.
Orioles 3, Angels 2: Nick Markakis supplied all of the Orioles' offense, in the eighth and the tenth innings. The O's are at 9-6 tied with the Rays a half game back of New York and Toronto. Yeah, it's too early for that kind of standings watching, but it's kinda fun to say it, ain't it?
Astros 12, Dodgers 0: L.A got whupped. Jordan Schafer hit a grand slam. Wandy Rodriguez threw seven three-hit shutout innings.
Blue Jays 5, Royals 3: Rickey Romero was solid (8 IP, 5 H 2 ER), Brett Lawrie stole home on a delayed double steal and Kansas City has lost ten in a row. Yikes.
Rays 6, Twins 2: First sentence of the AP recap:
The Minnesota Twins are becoming concerned withFrancisco Liriano's struggles.
This is not a repeat from any year since 2006.
Cardinals 5, Pirates 1: How is Kyle Lohse doing this year? Well, he gave up one run over seven innings and his ERA actually went up. From 0.89 to 0.99.
I will now sell five copies of The Three E.P.'s by The Beta Band:
Yankees vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED: I asked him time again ...
Marlins vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Take me in and dry the rain ...
Giants vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, take me in and dry the rain, the rain the rain the rain now.
Sixty years ago today, baseball saw one of its least likely home runs.
At the plate was a 28-year-old rookie Giant stepping into a major league batters box for the very first time. But it wasn’t just any 28-year-old rookie, but a 28-year-old rookie pitcher. Yeah, that’s someone unlikely to homer in his first at-bat.
This particular aging rookie was Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm. He’d made his pitching debut a few days earlier, but this was his first time at the plate. He faced Boston Braves reliever Dick Hoover, who had just entered the game after the starting pitcher allowed two homers and a hit batsmen to the last three batters he faced.
Wilhelm belted a solo home run in his first at-bat, clearly not a bad way to start his career. One could be forgiven for wondering if this newest pitcher would be better suited to an everyday role, but that was not to be. Rather famously, Wilhelm’s first-at-bat home run would be the only one in his career.
He'll play 21 years and have 493 plate appearances, but never go deep again. In fact, he proved to be a .088 hitter. Even for a pitcher, that’s bad.
An inning after his homer, Wilhelm drove in another run on a ground out. He wouldn’t drive in another run for 14 months. Wilhelm had only one other multi-RBI game in his career.
After this game, his best shot was a triple, which he hit in 1953. He also hit two of his three career doubles that year. From 1954-73, Wilhelm hit .075/.125/.078.
As unlikely as it sounds, a pitcher homered in his first at-bat and then played another 20-plus years without another longball. And that homer was 60 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event that happened X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim:
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